Sarawakian diver Kimberly Bong quits national team at 21

Kimberly Bong Qian Ping. Photo credit: Kimberly's Instagram account.

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, May 24: Sarawakian national diver Kimberly Bong Qian Ping has announced her retirement at only 21 years old.

Via her Instagram account @kikimberly_, she posted a post on May 20, which wrote:
“Too young to retire but still young to explore, they say. Fifteen years worth of diving. All those laughs, sweat, and tears will never be forgotten.

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“Thank you to those who have supported me throughout my entire career. Officially, this chapter will be closed, and it’s time for me to move on to another chapter.”

Bong, who will turn 22 in July, is the reigning SEA Games springboard champion after bagging a gold medal for Malaysia in the women’s 3-metre springboard event in Cambodia in May last year.

She also won a silver medal in the women’s 3m springboard synchro event with Ong Ker Ying at the World University Games in Chengdu, China, in August last year.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Minister of Youth, Sports, and Entrepreneur Development (MYSED) Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, when asked to comment on Bong’s retirement, said every beginning has its ending.

“I think it’s good to see somebody like that who knows his/her peak and that their time as a thriving athlete has ended.

“She also wants to pursue her studies and get her degree, lead a normal civilian life whether as a coach or any other capacity,” he said at a press conference in the Baitulmakmur 2 building here today.

Abdul Karim further thanked Bong for her contribution to the good name of Sarawak and Malaysia.

When asked whether 21 years old is a good time to retire, he said it depends on the athletes themselves.

“For diving, it starts at a very early age. I know our diving athletes start developing when they are eight or nine years old, and they will peak roughly around the age of 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 or 19.

“Once you are over 20 years old, your body, hormones and interest change,” he said, adding that athletes of other sports can last right up to their 30s. — DayakDaily

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